R.R. model magazines (ie: "hard copy")

Hi, I know there are several mags devoted to model RR'ing; but what, or which would you recommend? Do you have a favorite? Thanx for the
advice.
Bruce
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snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote in news:8b01231c01q7dh7l9n62127teha4v2pbbn@ 4ax.com:

"what" I'd recommend is visiting a hobby shop or magazine store and picking up copies of what you think you're interested in and see how if you like them. Many magazines will also send you a few free issues so you can decide whether you like them or not.
I've had a subscription to Model Railroder for almost 10 years. When my subscription lapsed, I went without it for several months and decided I missed it enough to renew. We'll see how things do after they get a new editor. It seems like every month they're printing corrections...
Puckropper
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Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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At Sat, 14 Apr 2007 07:22:36 GMT snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

Model Railroader is pretty good.

--
Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933
Deepwoods Software -- Download the Model Railroad System
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On Apr 14, 3:22?am, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

Perhaps more than ever before, choosing one particular magazine over another today depends a great deal on the level of seriousness you place on your hobby and your current skills level (and to what degree you wish to advance them). While Model Railroader was long considered the premier magazine in the hobby and the realm of the accomplished model railroader, over the past decade it has been steadily slipping toward being one directed much more at newbees, those modeling at a rather basic level and the RTR crowd. The layouts depicted in the pages of MR, however, are very much at the opposite end of the spectrum! The change in direction the magazine has demonstrated has, in part, resulted in their progressively losing circulation (45,000 in the last ten years) and acceptance among more traditional and advanced model railroaders.
Railroad Model Craftsman is perhaps a less "slick" magazine than MR but is aimed toward the craftsman side of the hobby and largely illustrates projects intended to advance one's modeling skills and creativity. It is and largely always was, the magazine of the more skilled, traditional hobbyist. Its sticking with the core hobbyists' interests has resulted in its circulation having remained relatively constant (as compared with MR's) for nearly a decade. Often the layouts shown in its pages are, with some moderate degree of effort, attainable by the typical reader. However, a newcomer to the hobby may find the more technical modeling articles over their heads or beyond their skills.
There are several other much smaller general interest or "specialty" magazines centered around HO modeling out there but this group has been declining rather rapidly recently. Several such magazines have creased publication in just the past year. As the hobby slowly shrinks (all these secondary magazines currently have marginal circulation) in the next half decade or so, I suspect that all these will probably disappear from the scene.
CNJ999
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CNJ999 wrote:

CNJ:
Actually, I have to dissent a bit, because I think the very advanced craftsmen publish more articles in Model Railroader (the Ben Kings and Carl Traubs). This of course is not a statistical analysis but a possibly bogus casual observation. RMC seems, these days, to have a better handle on the sort of projects "people actually do"; neither elementary nor extraordinarily difficult. My favorite feature of RMC, of course, is their more folksy tone. Through back-issues I have somehow become firmly aligned with the Jim Findlays and E. L. Moores (and Eric La Nals) of model railroading, I suppose.
On the other hand, both publish good scale drawings, and MR's very good layout tours are always worth reading. They do publish a lot of novice-level stuff, but to be fair this wouldn't necessarily be bad if done properly. Linn H. Westcott used to be very good at writing articles about things you already thought you completely understood, and yet showing you something new...Gorden Odegard could do that too, now that I think of it. The only things I really don't like in MR are "Asleep at the Throttle" and "Trains of Pompous Thought", but I can still read those for the comic value, and after all they're only editorial features.
The fact is, they're both good magazines, and while I subscribe to neither at present, I buy both regularly at the grocery store news stand. Some issues are good, some not so good. Buy both, and pick up Railmodel Journal, perhaps, if your model shop carries it. Frankly, I can't really get into RMJ.
Cordially yours: Gerard P. President, a box of track and some grids.
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On 14 Apr 2007 07:46:05 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote:

I recall in the 50s and 60s RMC's Bill Shopp's (RIP) articles on "brass bashing" where he'd cut up two 2-8-0s to create a 2-8-8-2. I learned a lot of "working with brass" from his articles.
Today...I'm strictly a tin-plater with two display cases filled with H0 brass.
And I no longer read MR, RMC or even CTT.
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snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote:

It's unfortunate that those you cite are no longer amongst the living. Ben King did some Great stuff, as did El Moore. The only one comparable nowadays is Jim Six, and the most recent article of his in MR is a shell of what he used to do. But as I understand it, MR heavily edits his stuff to take out a lot of the background material. I'll be letting my sub lapse as of June, mainly because Thompson will still be involved. I thought him being an NYC fan (which I am) would be greta, but eh mag has gone downhill. Jack
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A point worth noting in conjunction with this statement is that, over the course of the last decade, MR has increasing been publishing these sorts of misleading "advanced modeling" articles. I agree that Jim's original draft probably contained considerable useful info on techniques necessary for reproducing his results. But read the published version and try to gain enough info even to start - you won't! Such articles, while always nicely illustrated, are consistantly very superficial, with the necessary details always seriously lacking. About a year ago MR ran a "scratchbuilding" article concerning a trackside produce business. The article was based on a previous 1950's MR article on the same building. The original ran 7 pages and included everything necessay, including the signage, to reproduce the building. The recent article ran 1 page and was totally worthless for building anything!
CNJ999
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wrote:

It is the same with some TV programs on the DIY channel. They are pushing their web site. MR has articles that you can pay for and download.
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wrote:

When I read threads like this, I can't help but wonder if it is the magazine that has changed or have we? There was a time in my modeling "life" that I was thrilled just to be able to change a horn-hook coupler to a Kadee drop-in. When it worked, I was filled with an inner sense of satisfaction. Now, it seems like I can do that blindfolded (or is it that my eyes are getting worse with old age and it just seems like I'm blindfolded??!?).
So, does MR seem less appealing to us because it is no longer challenging because we have grown in our modeling skills? I'm neither defending nor criticizing here; I'm just asking the question. Or... to put it another way, when we all learned to read, those Tom, Dick & Susan books seemed so challenging; now, we laugh at their simplicity. Just my thought; your idea might be totally different.
The other fact of life that MR is dealing with is that there are fewer & fewer "modelers" today. More and more people are content to plunk down $20 for an RTR Athearn boxcar and get on with it. Good gag a maggot... Even Plasticville kits are sold preassembled today! So when people in the hobby are bringing less & less in the way of modeling skills to the table, MR may have rightly guessed that the "modeling" that many of us did 15-20 years ago would be way over the heads of many of today's readers. A friend of mine in the retail end of the hobby told me that his shop recently ditched all of the strip styrene & may other scratch-building supplies because people simply weren't buying them. Who uses decals any more? Times they are a changin' and it could be that MR is trying to change with them. And those of us who liked to do things the "old way" are being left out in the cold.
Like I said, just my thought.......
dlm
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It is most certainly the nature of MR that has changed, not us. Just compare issues of the magazine from 15-20-25 years ago and more with what they are publishing today. They are totally different in scope and direction.
As to the editor's foresight in this matter, what I think we are seeing is a magazine that is catering to its advertisers, who make much greater profit today by selling RTR vs. kits and who, in turn, are responding mainly to the entry-level crowd who are obviously willing to spend big bucks up front (and which the longtime modelers largely are not).
It is really quite startling to compare MR's ads with those in RMC. MR is largely about buying stuff, particularly RTR. RMC about tried and true modeling and so are its advertisers. You'll quickly note that the magazines represent two very different camps, with very little crossover. As such, I honestly think that we are seeing the beginnings of the hobby's division in to two separate and distinct camps: those that can do and those that are only willing to buy. It will be a division into modelers and collectors. And just such a split in hobbyist recognition also occurred in the 1950's, when tin-platers and hi-railers were expelled from the group which considered themselves as true scale modelers...a movement spurred, incidentally, by MR!
History has a tendency of repeating itself and it looks like MR will likely be on the opposite side of the fence this time.
CNJ999
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Folks:
I think there's a few more things operating here.
For one thing, take a look at a handful of pictures in, say, a 1958 MR. Practically everybody has some Silver Streak or Ambroid kits. Most are assembled at least adequately, a few really well, a few are really hack-jobs. Now go to a train show and browse the vintage HO (only because I very rarely see old kitbuilt O). Again, there are a few really well-done kits, a few really bad ones, and a lot that are at least adequate.
This, I think, aligns with something I know very well. When a person of average skill, such as I am, encounters an unfamiliar job, he often rushes or otherwise mangles it. But by the next time, or perhaps the third time, he has learned enough to do it reasonably well. I know this to be true for me, because I ruined a yard-sale vintage Revell Popcorn Wagon kit (ow) and perhaps half a dozen other plastic car kits before I gained the patience to sand, paint, remove chrome, and avoid surplus glue. But when I finally got that 1957 Bel Air complete (and painted a two-tone green of extraordinarily disgusting and yet beautiful authenticity) I was just so DAMNED proud of myself. That feeling was worth all the wasted plastic.
With train kits, much the same thing happened. I ruined a Mantua 2-6-2, and to fail to extract a working model from those extremely well-designed kits is really a negative accomplishment, I must say. I then attempted an Arbour 4-6-0 with very dire results that got donated to a local watchmaker. Poor guy. But then I tackled an MDC 2-6-0, which was quite frankly a lot trickier than the 2-6-2, and after a lot of slow and careful work it ran absolutely beautifully. What a charge it was when I put the motorless but otherwise finished chassis on a piece of track, tipped it slightly, and watched the rods lashing as it coasted away!
And again, I still have my second scratchbuilt cardstock house. It's pretty bad, but I kept at it, and the latest one is a lot better. I'm no Rob Corriston yet but I can aspire. :)
SO where am I getting, with all this wordiness? Well, I am trying to say that everybody in those old MRs with their stick-kits and "airplane glue" must have gone through this very same learning curve. First attempts are often disastrous; third are just as often successes, and that first success is all the better when it takes effort. And yet, I keep on reading anecdotes online or in MR that describe how somebody tried something, failed, and never tried again. But in so doing, they never know the thrill it gives to know that your own hands now have the ability to do something they couldn't do before. It's an empowering feeling, and if you can't find the time to seek out that feeling, which is one of the best rewards any hobby can provide, then please, scale back participation in some other part of the hobby so that you can. Better to build a diorama and gain that skill, than try for an empire and lose the opportunity.
Another thing I'd like to mention is that model railroading, though a largish hobby, is often greatly influenced by a very few 'idea- people'. In a previous era, Linn Westcott was a veritable giant, and his focus on the techniques of the hobby was no doubt a huge influence on what modelers of the time thought of their hobby. Frank Ellison, practically on his own, made the way-freight the center of model railroad operations for a while.
Today is no exception. I think we are just leaving the Allen McClelland era of model railroading -- the era of a railroad that is not a "real railroad, only with small trains" like the G & D, but a railroad that doesn't try to be a real one on its own, but an accurately modeled railroad simulation. Tony Koester and John Nehrich are other notable promoters of this style. It's a good style; I like the "real railroad" approach better, but if you want to simulate part of the SP or ACL, the McClelland way definitely seems easier.
I believe that the McClelland era, too, has seen some de-emphasis on model building. In a way, the Allen approach propelled you, through space constraints, into some degree of free-lancing; it's easier to justify the compromises a small railroad must make if it's your own line. Free-lancing encourages customizing and scratchbuilding, simply because nobody is going to build you a G&D 4-10-0. Conversely, when the emphasis is mostly on train operations-simulation (not traffic simulation as in the other approach) and modeling of a prototype or near-prototype, some attention is inevitably drawn away from model building.
I think the McClelland era ended, in a semi-poetic sense, when Koester tore down his Allegheny Midland. The ideas go on, and yet all around there are signs that the themes are changing. I don't know yet what they are changing to, yet.
That's enough running at the mouth for now from me. Over.
Cordially yours: Gerard P. President, a box of track and some grids.
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It also depends what your primary interests are within the hobby. I like Model Railroader for its' , in my opinion, more general over-view of the hobby, I like RMC for the kitbashing,scratchbuilding and modelling aspect....my favorite is a little-known,on this side of the pond, black&white magazine called Model Trains International...why? Cuz it doesn't deal with the large basement empire type layouts most of the US magazines seem to focus on but more of the smaller type of layouts that somebody with limited time and/or space can deal with. Just my 2 cents worth. Gene

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snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

One that no one else has mentioned so far is the Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette, commonly referred to as the Gazette. I don't model narrow gauge, but find enough old structure and rolling stock articles to make it my favorite.
I concur on the opinion of MR. I still read it, but at the public library. That way I don't pay more than it's worth :-). But if you can find a stack of old ones from the 50s to the 80s (some would say 90s) by all means buy them.
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It's turtles, all the way down

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I subscribed from about 1983 to about 1995. It got to the point where it seemed more like one of the slick computer magazines that has more crap than useful articles. It's been a while since I have stopped by the hobby shop magazine rack. I looked at the magazines about 1 year ago and thought "I could build some neat stuff for that price."
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On Sat, 14 Apr 2007 07:22:36 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

Just a thought.
Pick up 10 years of Model Railroader or Railroader Model Craftsman from the 50's or 60's for example. Some of the articles are a little dated, but great stuff.
Still good bets today also.....
Jim
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I will most definitely second the suggestions of several previous posters that purchasing back issues of MR (from the 1950 until the mid 1980's) is a excellent idea. These earlier issues were an absolute weath of detailed modeling articles and were what made MR stand out among publications. Sadly, that's all history today.
CNJ999
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snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

The best advce you hav receved id=s that from puckdropper above.
Each modeler has differnt interests and skilll. No one mag will fit all.
Go to a well equipped rr oriented local hobby shop once a month ( or more) for three months and get each of Model Ralroader (MR), Railroad Model Craftsman (RMC), and the Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette (the Gazette). Read the all. Make one or two or three choices. (Or more).
Personally, I subscribe to RMC and the Gazette. I used to sudscribe to MR (from about 1970 to sometime in the late 90s) but have stopped with MR. Personal choice and preference. YMMV.
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snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net spake thus:

Since you asked, yes: /Mainline Modeler/. Incredible photography, articles on building all kinds of stuff, prototype plans for locos, cars, depots, etc., and just overall high-quality articles. Unfortunately, it's no longer publishing. Fortunately, you can still buy back issues: http://mainlinemodeler.com ($2.50/ea, great bargain).
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On Sat, 14 Apr 2007 07:22:36 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote: To all those who responded to my query, Thank you very much! I guess the best suggestion is to get several and "try" to decide. Thanx again
Bruce
P.S. Somewhere 'mongst the saved junk, I have a bunch from the late 40's and early to mid 50's that we're my Fathers. As I recall its been 20 - 30 years since i last looked at any; they we're B&W and Sepia, with a couple of fancy layouts and their construction in each issue.

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